Speech Writing and Presenting 101
If the thought of public speaking makes you sweat in your seat, you’re not alone. In fact, in one study conducted among business school students, three out of four individuals admitted to being afraid of public speaking. Presenting with confidence in public is an important skill. With the right preparation, you can learn how to speak in front of groups of all sizes with confidence. Keep reading for a crash course in speech writing and presenting.
Put pen to paper
All great speeches and presentations start on paper. Audiences respond to authenticity, so the goal is to write like you speak to keep it natural. Putting together a good, attention grabbing speech boils down to four “must haves”:
- Structure. A strong beginning and end, plus a series of main talking points in the middle, will help anchor your speech every step of the way. In the beginning, tell people what the speech will cover. At the end, recap your main points. This will help the audience follow along and remember the most important messages.
- Tone. Nailing the right tone is critical in winning your audience over from the start. More formal or less formal, humorous or informative, really think through who your audience is, and then write for them specifically.
- Simplicity. The best speeches are often the simplest: a clear point made in a plain way. The more straightforward your speech, the more easily your audience will remember what you said.
- Storytelling. Humans respond powerfully to stories of any kind. Including personal anecdotes in your speech will go a long way to engaging and connecting your audience with the points you’re trying to make.
Prep, practice and go
While they say practice makes perfect, beating nerves is an entirely different battle. Fortunately, there are many things you can do to be more effective in speaking in front of audiences:
- Create a well-researched, well-written speech: Studying your topic so you know it inside and out will help you feel more comfortable speaking on the subject. Not to mention, if you take questions following your speech, you’ll be ready for any curve balls coming your way.
- Organize your information and create your presentation: Once your speech is written, create attention-getting visuals to go with it, using Google Slides or PowerPoint. Use the images or video as a complement to your words, and don’t spell everything out on slides. Don’t use the slides to convey complex data points. Instead, give your audience a handout during or after the presentation – and make sure to print on high-quality paper like Boise POLARIS Premium paper.
- Practice: Now that you know your subject like the back of your hand, practice giving the speech like you will the day of your presentation. Pay attention to how fast you talk, your breathing, posture, and body language. Try recording yourself so you can see and hear how the audience will perceive you, and time the presentation to ensure you are within your allotted schedule. On the day of your speech, make sure to arrive early and test any technology you plan to use during your presentation.
Presenting to an audience is part of the job for most professionals. Hopefully if you use these tips, your next presentation will be a breeze!
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